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Martinsville Speedway is an International Speedway Corporation owned NASCAR stock car racing short track located in Henry County, Ridgeway, Virginia, just to the south of Martinsville. At 0.526 miles (847 m) in length, it is the shortest track in the NASCAR Cup Series. The track was also one of the first paved oval tracks in NASCAR, being built in 1947 by partners H. Clay Earles , Henry Lawrence and Sam Rice per Virginia House Joint Resolution No. 76 on the death of H. Clay Earles. It is also the only race track that has been on the NASCAR circuit from its beginning in 1948. Along with this, Martinsville is the only NASCAR oval track on the entire NASCAR track circuit to have asphalt surfaces on the straightaways, then concrete to cover the turns.
The track is often referred to as paper clip-shaped and is banked only 12° in the turns. The combination of long straightaways and flat, narrow turns makes hard braking going into turns and smooth acceleration exiting turns a must. The track was paved in 1955 and in 1956 it hosted its first 500-lap event. By the 1970s, a combination of high-traction slick tires and high speed was putting excessive wear on the asphalt surface. In 1976 the turns were repaved with concrete (a rare concept in the 1970s). By 2004, the then 28-year-old concrete had shown significant wear. On April 18, 2004 a large chunk of concrete had become dislodged from the track's surface and caused severe damage to the body of Jeff Gordon's car. In reaction to this, the track was fully repaved with new concrete and asphalt.
Until 1999, Martinsville was notorious for having two pit roads. The backstretch pit road was generally avoided because if a team had to pit there during a caution, any car pitting on the front stretch had the advantage of pitting first and not having to adhere to pace car speed upon exiting their pit road. This was rectified when pit road was reconfigured to extend from the entrance of turn 3 to the exit of turn 2. This move allowed for a garage to be built inside the track, and leaves Bristol Motor Speedway as the only active NASCAR track with two pit roads.